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Peter Pan Lyric Theatre
By Scott Jamison

And now the end is near and so I face the final curtain. So said the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra. Well actually, so said Paul Anka, as he wrote the original English language version of the song, but that’s a whole other conversation.

Anyway, the point of quoting Frankie/Paul is that the end is indeed near for me. Not in life (I hope) but rather at the South Belfast News. Yes, I hope you’re sitting down as you read this because after four long years chronicling the ups and downs of the local area, that’s all she wrote for me here.

To quote a famous last line, it’s been emotional. For those wondering, that was by Big Chris, played by ex-footballing hardman Vinnie Jones in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Frank Sinatra to Vinnie Jones – some leap, huh?

But all good things must come to an end.

And unlike so many film franchises and television shows, I’m aiming to not jump the shark and indeed go out in a blaze of glory. Well as much glory as a weekly column in the South Belfast News will bring me, at any rate.

Things have changed immensely in my time here. As a young, fresh-faced (no jokes please) journalist walking into my first full-time newspaper post in January 2008, I knew nothing about the world or how it worked.

Well that’s a bit of a lie really. I was 24, so worldly enough. But in terms of South Belfast, all I knew about were the bars that populate the inner city area. In fact, the only times I was in South Belfast before 2008, I was drunk.

But to once again use a last line (guess the film) – I love this town (too late – Ghostbusters). Whether it’s alleygates on the Lisburn Road, traffic on the Saintfield Road or those pesky students in the Holyland, the local hot topics have kept me in a job for four years and for that I’m grateful.

While I’m thinking of it – I only got four years in the one position and yet George W Bush managed to eke out eight as President of the United States. Work out the logic on that one.

I did have some genuinely great moments – things like a visit to Auschwitz and several interesting interviews with academics, politicians and general Joe Bloggs characters.

But anyway, while this may have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship (Casablanca), I’ll always be right here (ET).

Roads? Where I’m going I won’t need roads (Back to the Future) – okay I will, as it’s only East Belfast. And throughout it all I looked wonderful out there (Dirty Dancing – I was asked to put that one in as a final favour to a friend).

In the meantime, I’ll be careful out there among them English (Witness), hopefully not living the rest of my life like a schnook (Goodfellas) as I get the hell outta town (Grosse Pointe Blank).

There is no fate but what we make (Terminator: Salvation) but I think I’ve put myself on the road to a pretty good one being here over the years. And now having delivered all these last lines I’ve been trying to think of a great last one of my own, something life-affirming and uplifting.

But irony of ironies, I can’t think of one, at least not one to compete with what’s come before, so I’ll leave with another one from Sinatra (and actually his this time) – “I’m not one of those complicated, mixed-up cats. I’m not looking for the secret to life. I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.”

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